The Long Distance Hurdle (Friday 2.10) is run at Newbury over 3-miles 110-yards and 12 hurdles. Established in 1990, it has an envious roll of honour that includes last year’s World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack, as well as four-time winner Big Bucks, and other multiple-winners Inglis Drever, Barracouda and Dean’s Beano.
Winners have been aged between 5 and 9, with 7-year-olds winning 3 of the last 6 renewals. However, despite Paul Nicholls training 5 of the last 7 winners, there will be a new trainer’s name on the trophy this year as none of the represented trainers have trained a previous winner.
9 runners are set to go to post for the 2016 Long Distance Hurdle.
Reve De Sivola
Usually reserves his very best for Ascot, though has more often that not sidestepped this race to avoid the likes of Big Bucks. However, he’s also bidding to become the oldest winner of the race at 11, he carries the maximum penalty, and Richard Johnson rides Menorah instead.
Impressed when conceding 5lb to Da Plotting Shed and Shaneshill last-time, and has been progressing on the flat and over hurdles recently. Has won over 3-miles, but his stamina will be tested by some stout stayers here. Carries the maximum penalty too.
Didn’t appear to like the quickish ground at Wetherby last time when falling at the last, but the handicapper has slapped him up another 7lb for that run. Should like Newbury, could easily win on the form of grade-1 novice win at Aintree last season, but looks too short a price in what looks a competitive race.
Was a nice 16/1 winner for Big Race Bookie Busters Members in April, but generally reserves his best for Aintree. No reason Newbury won’t suit, but must also prove his stamina for 3-miles having looked ideally suited to 20-furlongs.
Stamina looked his strong suit after he stayed on powerfully to win the Albert Bartlett at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, but he still had enough speed to win a novice hurdle over 20-furlongs at this meeting last season. Form of that race took a few knock since though, but stable on fire in the last couple of days, and could be suited to having a strong front-runner in the race.
Fragile 8-year-old who is being aimed at the RSA Chase, though is yet to try his luck at 3-miles over hurdles or fences. However, a line through Silsol wouldn’t give much to find with the likes of Ballyoptic, and can’t be ruled-out.
11-year-olds probably shouldn’t be winning this, but his second in the Charlie Hall Chase shows he’s still got plenty of ability. He was also a good enough hurdler to win a Greatwood and an International, and it’s easy to see why connections are trying their luck in the stayer’s hurdle division.
Shades of Midnight
Last win came off a mark of 137, and he was well-beaten off 148 last-time. Shouldn’t be winning.
The Romford Pele
Likeable sort who tries hard, but seemed to get outstayed at Wetherby in a similar race last-time, and same scenario probably awaits.
Bet365 Long Distance Hurdle Tip
A case can be made for Snow Falcon, Maximiser, Menorah and Ballyoptic in what looks a competitive renewal of this World Hurdle Trial, but I think it’s Unowhatimeanharry who will be ideally suited to chasing down bold front-runner Reve De Sivola, and he looks the each-way value.
Unowwhatimeanharry each-way @ 13/2